Baby prefers formula to my breast milk

(25 Posts)
enchantmentandlove Sun 11-Sep-16 09:39:29

Since DD was 4 weeks we have mix fed due to a variety of reasons, including tongue tie and supply. I expressed milk, used formula and tried offering her the breast as well for a while. Dd is now 12 weeks - I haven't offered the breast in a while as it just upsets her now, but about 1/3 of her milk is expressed breast milk and 2/3 is aptamil.

When she was tiny she didn't seem to notice the difference, but as she's getting older she seems to prefer the aptamil. She rarely finishes a breast milk bottle and fusses throughout the feed. Whereas with the formula she usually finishes it and seems to enjoy it more.

I haven't changed anything in my diet, I'm just wondering if perhaps she prefers formula as she has more of it? Does anyone have any experience of this? I work so hard to pump the little milk I'm able to as I know it's what's best, I'm just feeling disheartened. Thank you

Heirhelp Sun 11-Sep-16 09:44:26

I expect it is more about familiarity. If you want to use both could you mix a little formula milk with breast milk? Or offer the breast milk at a bit when she feeds better. My DD downs milk during night feeds, perhaps there is a time when your DD is more hungry. Babies are fickle little things and change what they prefer frequently.

On another note a baby should never finish a formula bottle. If there is milk left it means she needs to be offered more.

enchantmentandlove Sun 11-Sep-16 09:52:37

Thank you for your advice smile

Am I okay to give her more as she's then having more than recommended for her age and she's small? She either finishes or leaves a little of formula, but usually a few ounces of breast milk.

Heirhelp Sun 11-Sep-16 10:25:16

Yes, my little one went through a phase if having lots more than the guidelines at one point now she has less.

You should aim to feed on demand. So feed when she is hungry and don't when she is not.

enchantmentandlove Sun 11-Sep-16 10:30:58

Thank you for your reply, I didn't know that. I will give your advise a try to see if that helps.

I do try to always feed dd on demand, although she seems to be somewhat putting herself onto a routine now (I can usually estimate her feeds within about an hour), she just doesn't seem to like the breast milk much.

Heirhelp Sun 11-Sep-16 10:42:21

I was planning in breast feeding so I knew nothing about formula feeding.

Ff babies also need to be offered water and take care to see if you need to change bottle teat size.

enchantmentandlove Sun 11-Sep-16 10:53:07

That's how I was - knew lots and breast feeding but didn't look into formula feeding, until I suddenly had to learn it all!

I do offer a little water and she's on the correct teat size. Thanks for your advice, she often drinks better at night time as she's awake but sleepy, so will try the breast milk then instead.

maybethedayafter Sun 11-Sep-16 10:56:03

Formula is heavier than breastmilk so fills them up quicker. Could you try offering a little formula first and then offer breastmilk at the same feed? That way the formula would have taken the edge off the hunger. If you want to get her back on the breast then you could try doing it this way too.

enchantmentandlove Sun 11-Sep-16 11:00:23

Thank you so much, that's a good idea.

Unfortunately there is no way she'll come back to my breast, I tried for so long only to feel disappointment every time. I saw a breastfeeding counsellor who told me she couldn't help me - I was doing everything right she's just never seen such a fussy baby feeding in all her career sad it was hard but I'm just accepting this is what's best for us both.

maybethedayafter Sun 11-Sep-16 13:29:41

I'm sorry breastfeeding didn't work out but it's fantastic that you're expressing for her. I did it with my first and it's tough feeding and expressing - so much of your time is devoted to doing it. Really well done.

enchantmentandlove Sun 11-Sep-16 14:04:29

Oh thanks so much, that's really kind of you to say. It's so time consuming and I don't like doing it, but so sure it's best for us. It helps to just see it as a part of my daily routine rather than an annoyance! As long as I can get dd to take my milk I'm hoping to keep expressing until she's six months.

Andromache77 Sun 11-Sep-16 14:41:24

All babies are different and the guidelines are just that, guidelines, based on averages, not set in stone, so don't worry, unless your baby is either way below or way over the average, or changes percentiles dramatically, you're OK. But check with your HV in case of doubt.

As to her choice of milk, it could probably be a matter of taste and familiarity, as mentioned up thread. Try giving her your expressed milk first and top up with formula, and be consistent. Also, try changing your diet, some foodstuffs change your milk's taste and might not be pleasant to your baby (asparagus is one, check online for more). It may not work but it's worth trying.

Ultimately, don't obsess too much about it (I know, easier said than done). I had no choice but to do mixed feeding due to low milk supply, but my baby was and still is in love with the boob, so even after having her fill from the boob-bottle combo, more often than not she would demand more boob as dessert/comfort/whatever. I'm glad that we persevered but that was only possible because she wanted to.

Finally, remember that we are lucky to have a choice at all, as in the past low milk supply or tongue tie would lead to sickly or dead babies. So if your baby won't latch on and/or you eventually abandon expressing, don't feel guilty or allow anyone to guilt-trip you either. It's your baby and as long as they're fed, clean and loved, they will thrive and be happy.

enchantmentandlove Sun 11-Sep-16 16:57:31

Thank you for your reply, I will have a look into foods online to see if there's anything I can change.

I wish that dd would take the breast, but unless she wants to it won't happen. I think you're right though, really we are very fortunate that there are alternatives for us women who are unable to breastfeed, it's nice to look at it that way. To be honest I think I found switching to the bottle and formula a lot harder than her, she's happy as long as she's getting milk so that's all that matters.

maybethedayafter Sun 11-Sep-16 18:32:21

Absolutely and you've given her the best start plus she's still getting the benefits of having breastmilk.

I meant to say in my last post - my DD is also 12 weeks so probably born around the same time as yours.

Laquila Sun 11-Sep-16 18:39:27

Heirhelp the OP's baby is 12 weeks - why would she need water as well as formula? (I've rarely formula-fed so little experience.)

Heirhelp Sun 11-Sep-16 21:28:02

GP and HV both told me that breast milk adapts a small amount to the temperature ie is more watery durring hot weather, therefore in hot weather a baby could become constipated. Some days DD takes one sip of water and decided she does not want it and other days she has about a third of an oz so not massive amounts of water.

Andromache77 Mon 12-Sep-16 18:21:37

Enchantment, I'm glad that I could help you a little bit. Expressing didn't work for me, and I was lucky that she's so keen on the boob because I couldn't have continued breastfeeding without it and I really wanted to, but there's no shame in trying and failing because ultimately it's not up to you. All you can do is try.

I did feel like a failure at first, and then, over time, I realised that I was lucky to have a choice and not to be forced to see my baby go hungry because I couldn't produce enough milk. That's why I mentioned it in my earlier post, it really helped me put everything in perspective. Yes, I wanted to EBF, yes, I failed, but hey, my baby was still fed and happy and I could finally enjoy feeding her what little milk I had without obsessing about her weight gain (or lack thereof). It was really liberating.

We must not forget that breasts are organs, just as a liver or a brain. If any of your other organs can malfunction, why on earth do some people pretend that breastfeeding can't? Most women produce plenty of milk but some don't; then again, most people produce enough insulin but some people's panchreas go to hell and they get diabetes. Tough luck. Diabetics have artificial insulin so they don't die and mums who cannot breastfeed have formula milk so their babies can live and thrive. Until the XIX century you would have had to beg your relatives and neighbours to take pity on your little one or else try to raise the money to buy a goat and pray to the heavens that your baby could tolerate its milk. Compared to that, formula milk is a marvel.

In the hormonal haze of the first weeks none of this occurred to me and I felt like an awful failure at times, so I do hope that it can help you relax and enjoy your baby.

enchantmentandlove Mon 12-Sep-16 21:02:35

Thank you for your replyand

enchantmentandlove Mon 12-Sep-16 21:11:28

Oops accidently hit the past button!

Thank you for your reply, I like your perspective and think it's very true. I think I just read all these statistics about breastfeeding/formula and feel guilty. Also for some reason I keep reading things that just upset me - recently a blog saying if you don't breastfeed your body thinks your baby has died and you'll get post natal depression or something. (Personally for me I felt such an anxiety lifted when we began mix feeding - dd started gaining weight again, she was happier, I was happier, no more hospital visits etc.). But formula really is an amazing thing that we have and I'm so thankful for it.

I actually never judge any woman on if she formula feeds, but can judge myself harshly. I'm glad that your baby is still able to breastfeed, that's great. Feeding certainly hasn't gone as I imagined, but in reality it's such a small part of being a mum I think. I'm making a promise to myself if I have feeding issues with any future babies I will not pressure and guilt trip myself, as to be honest it stole so much joy for me at the beginning.

Andromache77 Tue 13-Sep-16 07:05:32

We've read the same literature re breastfeeding and its benefits, and on my lowest moments it made me feel awful, which is why I had to rationalise all this as a way of coping. I do believe that breast is best, it's just that there's no button you can press to make it work when it doesn't.

All in all, my baby got the all-important inmune boost, cuddly feeling of skin to skin while feeding plus whatever calories she was getting from me. Then, through sheer determination from both of us we increased the percentage of breastmilk as at 5mo she was still having the same daily amount of formula as when she was 1mo and was way bigger and positively chubby.

It felt good to know that I had somehow "beat the bottle", which is silly, I know, but made me feel like I had achieved something. It also saved my sanity because she's not much of a sleeper and the boob was the only way to knock her out.

You have given your baby the best start in life and you're still fighting the good fight with the pump. Personally I'm convinced that after the first weeks, some of breastmilk's benefits come not from the milk itself but from the cuddles, skin to skin and time devoted to your child, which is something you can still do with a bottle.

It's not ideal and I love breastfeeding, but you're not doing anyone a favour by beating yourself over it. Besides, as they say about financial assets, past performance does not guarantee future results. Each pregnancy and baby are different and with a second child you might very well breatfeed like a queen, who knows.

minipie Tue 13-Sep-16 22:01:56

Have you tasted your EBM?

I had an issue called "excess lipase" which meant my milk tasted grim from about 8-12 hours after expressing (even if fridged or frozen). It was ok used immediately but just wouldn't keep - it wasn't "off", but tasted horrible. I think there are details about it on Kellymom.

enchantmentandlove Wed 14-Sep-16 04:11:34

Ahh I didn't think of that, I may give it a taste. I said to dh dd seems to be turning her nose up at the taste, but he said of course she wasn't. I did taste a little a while ago out of curiosity (imo tastes better than her aptamil!), but haven't in a while thanks.

minipie Wed 14-Sep-16 10:38:48

Do taste it at various times after expressing - mine was delicious (if I say so myself grin) straight after expressing and for about 6 hours after, but after that it gradually started to go grimmer and by 12 hours was really foul. It's often described as a soapy taste.

The length of time varies from person to person - some people have so much lipase their EBM goes soapy tasting even 2 hours after expressing.

septembersunshine Sat 17-Sep-16 10:43:16

Don't feel bad op! I have three f2f babies and I am trying ever so hard to bf my last baby who is three weeks. All I will say is when your baby is at the school gate on the first day of school it just won't matter who was bf or ff or who walked or talked first. It just fails to matted as the years go by! Just enjoy your baby!

enchantmentandlove Sat 17-Sep-16 12:48:47

Thank you septembersunshine smile

I have actually decided to stop pumping. I tried the suggestions here but still nothing seems to help. I'm disappointed I didn't get to 6 months as I'd hoped, but dd has had 3 months of breast milk which I'm proud of. I can't make her drink my expressed milk and she is doing so well with formula, so I feel this is the best decision for us both. Expressing is hard, and to be honest the thought of doing it so much until Christmas filled me with dread, especially when no matter what I do she just doesn't like it compared to the formula.

I'm now in the process of cutting down my pumping sessions. Thanks everyone for your support smile

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